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"The Nuances of Blackness and/in the Canadian Academy" – A tool for engaging with equity pedagogy in the graduate classroom

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Author: Dolana Mogadime, Associate Professor, Brock University

Over the past few years, I have used the Federation for the Humanities and Social Science’s Equity Matters blog series as a teaching tool for my graduate level courses in education.  The Federation’s blog is an excellent mechanism for community building and knowledge exchange.  It provides scholars who are committed to theoretical and critical research with a wealth of public, open access materials to share with students. These materials, in the form of panel presentations, online discussions and posts, provide a way for students to step into equity conversations and engage with them.

"The Nuances of Blackness and/in the Canadian Academy" panel, held at Congress 2014 at Brock University and which I had the pleasure of chairing, provides critical insights into how agency functions as an operating principle in the life and work of a group of well-known black scholars and professors in Canada. The concept of the panel was groundbreaking, as seldom have black professors been afforded the opportunity to reflect on their lived realities as black intellectuals in a recorded public forum. The panel provides insights into the complexities inherent in racial body politics in Canada as they are experienced by the black professoriate.  One might ask why these realities are silenced. Two themes arise from an analysis of the panel presentation that are particularly worthy of mention: 

  1. The black professoriate – experiences of objectification as the ‘other’;

  2. The black professoriate – teaching in settings that both censure and contribute to their erasure as ‘minoritized bodies.’

Using critical incidents from their life experiences in institutions, the panelists argue that the academy is not immune to racism. They insist that institutions fulfill their promise of recognizing the full humanity of all people. The panelists do an excellent job of explaining the nature of oppression (as a silencing mechanism) on one hand, and the resistance of the individual in the face of these constraints on the other.

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Panel: The Nuances of Blackness and/in the Canadian Academy
Date: May 26, 2014
Chair:  Dolana Mogadime, Associate Professor, Brock University 

Panelists:
Afua Cooper, Professor and James R. Johnson Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Dalhousie University
‘The Spook Who Sat By the Door’: Creating Black Studies at a Canadian University’

Annette Henry: Professor, University of British Columbia
“We especially welcome applications from members of visible minority groups”: Reflections on Race, Gender and Life at three universities

Tamari Kitossa: Associate Professor of Sociology, Brock University
The Certainty of Uncertainty: Academia, whiteness and the Invisible Man’s Shadow

Handel Kashope Wright: Professor, Director Centre for Culture, Identity and Education, University of British Columbia
The Awkward Presence of Blackness in the Neo-liberal, ‘Non-Racial’ Canadian Academy

This panel was hosted at the 2014 Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Brock University as part of Federation for the Humanities and Social Science’s Equity Issues Portfolio in collaboration with the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE).

Category

Equity Matters

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Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2014Interculturalism and pluralismAnti-racismEquity MattersEducation and Equity